Driven to succeed

Beginning its freight operations in 1975 under the name Global Shipping, third party logistics company Global Shipping & Logistics (GSL) soon established itself as a trend setter in the freight market as a result of the efficient and swift services it provided to its clients within the UAE. Evolving into an integrated logistics provider in 2005, the company’s agile and flexible business philosophy, coupled with over 30 years of experience in the local market, allowed it to adapt to rapid regional development and keep pace with the UAE’s dramatic growth.

“Our tagline, ‘Driven by You’, represents our commitment to our clients and our drive towards achieving supply chain excellence, and this ethos has helped GSL to become the benchmark for high standards in the field of logistics,” begins GSL’s Chief Operating Officer, Frank Courtney. “Today, GSL has a workforce of over 700 employees, and a total of 2.8 million square feet of combined warehousing space in our Dubai Investment Park (DIP) and Dubai Industrial City (DIC) locations, offering 160,000 pallet positions in both frozen and temperature controlled options. This capacity makes us a complete one-stop-shop logistics solution provider, with the skills, knowledge, experience and processes necessary to service any client from our target industries.”

Indeed, GSL has become a reliable and valued logistics partner/supplier to over 100 global and local brands and businesses that operate in the UAE, and in the wider MENA region. “To outsource one’s logistics function is a crucial business decision and one that needs careful consideration,” Frank states. “Our clients trust GSL to supply the best flexible service they need now and going forward. It is also not simply about delivering the best service, in the sense that we also take on the responsibility of helping these clients operate their supply chain cost effectively and efficiently.”

GSL’s client portfolio is made up of brands and businesses that are spread across FMCG, frozen foods, pharmaceutical, veterinary, retail and e-commerce business verticals. These clients can either use the company’s services for end-to-end logistics and supply chain management, or individual/mixed services, such as documentation clearing, freight-forwarding, transport, distribution services, cold-storage, cold-chain integrity management, temperature controlled warehousing, co-packing, and other value added services.

“The UAE is a consumption market with very little manufacturing or production taking place. Therefore, feeding into this consumer marketplace requires aggregators who can source and deliver the right products that match the consumer’s seasonal demands,” Frank continues. “Given the harsh weather and the UAE’s strategic location globally, distributors of consumer goods need to ensure they are able to profitably meet their customer’s requirements while remaining competitive. Logistics plays a very important part in this profitability, and third party logistics companies like GSL play a pivotal role in this process.

“However, logistical challenges for different products vary depending on seasonality and annual consumption patterns. This makes it important for companies like ourselves to be able to offer the flexibility needed to customise world class supply chain, warehousing, distribution and other services into bespoke logistical offerings that ensure product integrity throughout the supply chain. This must be achieved while ensuring that the product remains a profitable proposition to the retailers and an affordable commodity for consumers.”

A key strength for GSL is that its warehouses were the first third party logistics custom-bonded warehouses outside of any freezone in the UAE. This allowed its clients to efficiently manage their cash flows, while taking advantage of the hassle-free operations made possible by GSL’s custombonded warehouses, to offer competitively priced products to customers on the mainland. Further solidifying its position is its combination of a fantastic team, industryleading facilities, systems, processes and operations, which are recognised to industry best practice standards that include ISO9001, 14001, 22000, OHS18001, HACCP and BRC.

“Take our state-of-the-art temperature controlled warehouses for example, which have been integral to our ability to deliver service excellence,” Frank explains. “The harsh environment that we operate in means that products are susceptible to damage and require temperature controls throughout the supply chain. Our temperature controlled and cold storage warehouses ensure we take the utmost care of our client’s products whilst they are in our custody. It also gives said clients the pricing advantages that global peak-planned procurement can offer, as well as the swiftness needed to turn around stocks into market capturing offers and promotions throughout the year.”

Over the years, GSL has made a habit of being first to market with new initiatives and services, and it has recently announced another first. “We are pleased to reveal that GSL has been given permission by the Ministry of Health to operate the first onshore, third party pharmaceutical warehouse facility in the UAE,” Frank adds. “At the same time, GSL continues to stay ahead of the competition by focusing on the latest cuttingedge technologies, one example being the successful implementation of our Pick-to- Sight augmented reality technology within our operations. Ensuring a quick turn around with 99.5 per cent or higher accuracy figures is key to sustainably fulfilling orders for all of our clients, and through the introduction of augmented reality enabled glasses into our picking and packaging services we have been able to not only maintain our high accuracy levels, but also make improvements to our turnaround times.”

What began as a third-party logistics provider specialising in consumer goods and frozen foods has since grown into a company with a healthy presence in new segments such as pharma-logistics, veterinary logistics and e-commerce. This pattern of growth does not stop here either, with GSL planning to increase its distribution services to its clients in 2019.

“Understanding our clients and being driven by their needs is the simplest way to ensure that we remain their partner of choice for all things logistics and supply chain”, Frank concludes. “Through embracing the changes facing the industry and adapting appropriate technology to provide innovative solutions, we believe that we can provide the advantage our clients need to thrive in their respective markets. This mind-set has worked for us in the past, and we are geared up to pursue the same approach in the years and decades to come.”

Global Shipping & Logistics (GSL)
Founded in 1975 as Global Shipping
2.8 million square feet of combined warehousing
Over 100 local and global clients